Superintendent accuses CRT critics of “McCarthyism”

North Country Supervisory Union Superintendent John Castle (foreground, with mask) charged CRT critic Ben Morley (in white shirt) and Sen. Russ Ingalls (with microphone) with “McCarthyism.” NEK-TV stillshot from August 13 meeting at Island Pond American Legion building.

By Guy Page

A Vermont school superintendent accused two prominent Critical Race Theory opponents of “McCarthyism” at an August 13 televised public meeting in Island Pond.

After denying his school district teaches CRT, North Country Supervisory Union Superintendent level charges of “McCarthyism” against anti-CRT activist Ben Morley and Sen. Russ Ingalls (R-Essex/Orleans).

McCarthyism is an epithet aimed at people who claim to see Marxist or communist ideologies at work. In the early 1950’s, Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin asserted (but never proved) communist influence in the U.S. government. 

Morley  opened the public meeting of about 100 people at the American Legion Hall by describing how ‘equity’ training in Vermont schools is based on the Marxist academic theory of Critical Race Theory. 

A 32-year-old Vocational Rehabilitation counselor for the State of Vermont, Morley holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Norwich University. Last year he founded FAIR Education for OCSU, which now has a Facebook page and about 120 involved parents. 

Heaving studied both Critical Race Theory in an academic setting and undergone the state’s required ‘equity’ training, he  draws a direct connection between the two. He added, “the history behind Critical Race Theory ties back to Marxists in Italy and before that in Germany.”

“CRT is an ideology that seeks to replace equality with equity,” Morley said. “Equality is much too important in a democracy to replace it with equity. We can’t let that happen.”

‘They preach diversity and inclusivity, but they don’t practice it,” Morley continued. “They don’t want you to have a place at the table to express your needs as a parent. It seems like every time we’ve tried, we’ve been met with disdain. We’ve been called white supremacist thinkers. We’ve been called intolerant. I was told that I need to work on my white privilege by a principal when I asked what they were teaching in history.”

In the face of school officials’ unwillingness to be transparent about CRT-based ‘equity’ training, parents should vote down school budgets and file Freedom of Information requests for curriculum, Morley advised. 

Samantha Stevens, North Country Supervisory Union equity and community outreach coordinator, argued that schools must teach equity because because some parents don’t teach it to their kids. 

“I’m here because racism does still exist in our society,” Stevens said. “We’ve had multiple incidents of racism, at least six in Island Pond alone in the last six months, where racist graffiti has been written on public locations. I can tell you those theories and ideas are not coming from school. They’re coming from home. So if you think we’re going to eliminate racism in our society, we cannot rely on students getting that information from their homes and communities alone. Our schools have to be a part of that solution.”

“We don’t teach critical race theory,” Castle said at about the one hour, seven minute mark. To Morley he said, “You’ve spent most of your time denigrating schools in a general sense.”

However, a parent stood and read a National Education Association resolution approved in July stating “it is reasonable and appropriate for curriculum to be informed by academic frameworks for understanding and interpreting the impact of the past on current society, including critical race theory.”

Here in Vermont, the Essex/Westford school district equity coordinator said during a May 4 public hearing that Critical Race Theory is “an important aspect” in equity training. 

Furthermore, Morley and others have stressed the similarities of the two ideologies, including the strong identification with ethnic groups of oppressed/oppressor and the insistence of equality of outcome vs. equality of opportunity. 

Where Morley sees a lack of transparency and cooperation by school officials, Castle sees citizens who level charges without proof. 

“Do you believe it’s important for us to teach McCarthyism?” Castle asked Morley. 

“I think it’s important to teach a structured curriculum that doesn’t infringe on anybody’s beliefs,” Morley said. 

“This is akin to McCarthyism,” Castle said after further exchange. “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

That statement prompted a strong reaction from Ingalls. 

“Okay, by having a discussion about what the NEA has brought in, about what the folks back have said, about what everybody said, that’s McCarthyism?,” Ingalls asked. “By being here as a community and giving our opinions, that’s McCarthyism? That sir, is part of the problem. If you can’t value everybody’s opinion here, that’s part of the problem, isn’t it?”

No, you are the problem,”  Castle said. “…..We have sat here and listened to people denigrate schools without any clear evidence.” 

You can’t take offense to people speaking their minds about what they believe,” said Morley. “Like, stop being offended. It’s part of our American process. It’s what builds a democracy.”

It remains to be seen if Castle, Morley, Ingalls and others can sit down and review the entire North Country School Supervisory Union equity training, its impact on curriculum, and the degree of CRT influence. 

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Categories: Education

21 replies »

  1. Why is the superintendent revising school curriculum because somebody wrote some “racist” grafitti? Could have been the work of one person. And what did it say? “America is a great country”? The leftist definition of “racism” is SO broad as to be meaningless. This whole CRT nonsense is a manufactured problem.

  2. “They preach diversity and inclusivity, but they don’t practice it.” Ben Morley
    This superintendent may actually believe CRT is a good thing and anybody who opposes it is a conservative nutcase, but that’s because he hasn’t done his homework on CRT and Marxism. Or, like most liberals, he is just too arrogant and proud to dismiss his idyllic progressive ideals for raw political reality.

  3. This article states “Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin asserted (but never proved) communist influence in the U.S. government.” This is wholly incorrect.

    Communism was proved to have infiltrated the United States government primarily under the four terms of President Roosevelt’s administration. Whittaker Chambers’s book Witness in addition to a Leon Skousen’s The Naked Communist (which I highly recommend) document the many proven communists in the Treasury Department (I believe one was Harry Hopkins), State Department (Alger Hiss), Agriculture Department and other departments. The list is extensive. The Venona Papers later confirmed all this.

    Today’s Critical Race Theory is a direct descendent of these Marxists ideas. Accusing those of pointing this out as “McCarthyism” is a tactic of both projection and obfuscation.

    What’s going on in our schools, government and culture is a Marxist assault on our Constitutional Republic.

      • The term “ McCarthyism” was a term coined by the Left (or socialists) to discredit all or any dissent against their collectivist agenda. “McCarthyism” isn’t a term specifically referencing the man but the discrediting and mocking of the revelation of the communist infiltration in the United States government by any individual or group or institution. It is a postmodern term meant not to describe reality but to constitute it.

  4. You attributed a statement that was presented by another “No, you are the problem….”. I never stated that nor would I have. Please review the tape and retract asap. Thanks,

  5. Mr. Licata’s right, “Witness” was published in 1952 & Chambers testimony was powerful before the HUAC but McCarthy was in the US Senate.(See “Blacklisted By History” by Evans) MASSIVE proof came out after the fall of the Soviet Union and subsequent decryption of the “Venona” cables in the 1990’s (see “The Venona Secrets” by Romerstein & Briendel) yet it seems NONE of the “history” books show this, why? It wasn’t just the Rosenbergs giving the Soviets US Atom Bomb secrets, one Harry Hopkins made SURE they got ALL the info & material FDR could send them during WWII’s “Lend Lease” program as documented in “Major Jordan’s Diaries” which was published in the early 1950’s also. Yet to this very day all we hear is “McCarthy” and “McCarthyism”? We just found recently that Communist China has been paying the NY Times for ‘favorable” articles (which the NYT tried to scrub from their archives) as disclosed by some “Un-Jaded” interns yet ONLY Tucker Carlson brought this to light after it was written about in Politico, of all places? At least w/the Soviets the money was only incidental to the US Commies, China’s is purely pecuniary and probably more widespread than we currently know.

    • Richard, as with Donald Trump, McCarthy’s procedures were heavy handed and crude. He succeeded mostly in persecuting and damaging the lives of innocent people. Admittedly, many people sincerely believe the false propaganda disseminated by the Soviet Union. As Hitler understood, the bigger the ;lie, the more people will accept it.

      • Phantomroseespress, I was actually around then. I know what what occurred. Not many innocent people where caught up in it, many more Communist got away with treason as a number of them have divulged in their memoir’s. Many people say they don’t like Trumps tone but actually it’s the truth they didn’t want to hear.

  6. I am not going to pretend to have a great deal of knowledge about CRT training or McCarthyism but what I do have is a LOT of personal experience. I was raised to be a racist my parents were racist. I then joined the military and got to experience first hand how wrong my parents really were.

    I am now the parent of 3 children that are bi racial and all attended NCUHS, I have traveled a lot, and lived in a state they say is the most racist in the country. I would like to share this because I think that all of this is BS!!!! The state is wasting a ton of money on special people they are hiring to teach kids and adults alike to be inclusive and diverse. It does not work that way at least not in my experience. I do not care what your fancy school and fancy degree tell you. You can preach to a racist all day long that they are wrong you can try and teach kids with racist parents that what their parents say is wrong. All this does is push them farther in the opposite direction.

    In my opinion the only way to get a person to accept someone of a different race, religion, sexual orientation ect to stop thinking in this manner is personal experience. Like I said I was a true blue racist when I graduated high school. I was then forced to interact, trust and depend on people of many different diverse back grounds. I learned that they were the same as me and they were good people. I no longer cared about what my parents said, they were wrong and I changed my mind. I changed the way I looked at people the way I saw the world. I have encountered this same situation take place in many many other people. I became best friends with a “black” racist guy from New Jersey he hated white people he thought we were all nasty and ignorant. It took time we fought, he tried to run me over with a hummer I tired to stab him with a lightning rod it was nasty. In the end he became my best friend he is still my friend to this day. We often reflect on the people that we used to be compared to who we are now. I have endless stories like this I could share.

    My children have experienced some racism here in Vermont, nothing truly major. Yes racism is in Vermont, but I do not think that it is our biggest problem by a long shot! I have noticed that some racist things have been getting worse here lately. I think that it may have a direct link to this CRT training . I know that when I was in school and believed everything my parents said. especially over anything the school said. When I was in school if they tried to teach me that my parents were wrong I would have been mad and i truly believe that it would have made me an even worse racist than I already was.

    Teach these kids facts true history not the watered down BS they teach in the south or the glorified versions they teach in the North give them facts teach them tolerance, help their minds grow and expand and empower them to find their own truth. Someone on here claimed that the parents are not teaching the kids at home. Well, if you think that you and the school trying to force what you or the state or who ever believes they should is NOT going to work you are going to do just the opposite!!! These kids need to be able to or even forced to interact and personally deal with different people to change their minds. Sending an atheist to a catholic church wont make them believe in God just like trying to teach a racist that they are wrong just won’t work they need experience!! You need to show them why their opinion is wrong not tell them it is and expect results

    Sorry so long but this whole article really upset me!!!

    • You are even more accurate than you might think. Vermont is a state without real systemic racism. It is stated to exist as an empirical fact, regardless of evidence.
      Also, how does anyone know what is or isn’t being taught to children at home? How can they know?

  7. In any discourse on controversial subjects there should be equal opportunity to air opinions and allow community consensus to arise. One sided prohibitions of the other viewpoints is dictatorial, undemocratic This is especially important when we, as a community, are trying to raise our children in a public school.

    If people want to teach racism, defunding police, and beliefs about oppressors and oppressed perhaps they should be encouraged to homeschool. This is not the mindset of the majority of Vermonters and should not be imposed by Superintendents, Racial Equity Coordinators, Principals or even teachers.

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